August 8, 2005, Monday
August 8, 2005 was the day the charter flight left for Medjugorje. Our Lady had told us the apparition would be at 8:00 AM, so the community gathered at 7:00 a.m. to begin the Rosary. There were many pilgrims who were a part of the “Birth to Assumption” pilgrimage who had come to the Field to be near Our Lady for the early morning apparition. This was the final apparition of Marija’s stay at Caritas, ending the beautiful days with Our Lady in which She had blessed the community with so many graces, including giving Her Special Blessing on two occasions, praying over each of the community members in the July 31st apparition, coming with angels in the Field on August 5, among so many other beautiful experiences with thousands of pilgrims being blessed and experiencing conversion. . There was no time to reflect upon all that though the effort was made during this last Rosary in the Bedroom. Organizing and maintaining a smooth pilgrimage of 200 pilgrims kept the community very busy and filled with activity for the next 11 days. It wouldn’t be until after the community came home that they had a little time for reflection. However, even that was short lived as Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast just a few days after our return and our community became heavily involved in the rescue and restoration efforts. But there have been many moments to reflect on these beautiful apparitions with Our Lady over the years, though we are never able to fully penetrate the mystery that surrounded Our Lady’s visit on Her birthday in August, 2005.
In the last apparition of August 8 2005, Marija said, “Our Lady blessed us, She prayed over us and She blessed us. And I asked Our Lady to bless those in the Field. Our Lady make Sign of Cross.”
BVM/Caritas that made history in August 2005 by chartering the first direct flight from the U.S. to nearby Mostar. It takes approximately 30 minutes to drive from Mostar to Medjugorje.
BVM/Caritas pilgrims, after just arriving in Mostar, depart from the plane to begin the process of loading up on several buses to their final destination of Medjugorje. The Mostar airport had not been used by civilians since the war in the early 1990’s. During this war, Mostar was a major target and was constantly bombarded. There was massive destruction throughout the city, including many historical sites. With the landing of the Caritas charter flight, it was an indication to the world that this historic city had come back from the rubble.
The successful landing of the Caritas charter flight at the Mostar airport was reported in the local area newspapers for three consecutive days. But the story was also carried around the world by international news sources. We were pretty amazed when we heard from supporters in Chicago, California and New York tell us they had heard on network news channels about the Caritas flight to Mostar. It gave international exposure to Medjugorje of which we were certain Our Lady was responsible for making that happen.